Geez, what an exhausting existence this is; I can tell you from personal experience. There has always been something about not getting a return phone call from a Client, or my ideas not getting chosen by company leadership, that sends me into a downward spiral. It absolutely drives me NUTS for a Client to ignore me for over a week after sending a proposal. And I can easily ruin an entire day wondering why leadership hasn’t chosen me to lead a project, whatever it may be. My inner critic relentlessly plagues me: Was it something in my proposal? Were my graphics sub-par? Or maybe there was some misunderstanding in my email that has kept the Client from calling me for two and a half weeks now. I’ve been counting the days, you know…  

Maybe it was something that I did; maybe it wasn’t. But I would never really know without ASKING. Then again, confronting “the vibe” would mean getting out of my own head and communicating with others so that I could learn and grow from each experience. LIGHT BULB!!! Direct communication was what I had been avoiding ALL ALONG. This would take some effort…

As it turns out, most of “the vibes” that I had been picking up were actually coming from within me; emanating inside out from feelings of being inadequate. I had been making SO MANY negative assumptions about myself and my WORK that I had physically isolated myself from conversations, shied away from making follow-up calls, and disengaged from opportunities and relationships. I was furthering myself from success because I was too scared to confront “the vibe” and ask what the issue was after all.

 

Pop Quiz:

Unfortunately, "the vibe” can strike anywhere and at any time. Take this short “pop quiz” to determine your fortitude against it:

1.  You're at a happy hour and in walks a potential Client.  You've reached out to set up a "get together" in the past, but they never replied.  You:
a. Acknowledge them, catch up and say nothing about the potential meeting
b. Acknowledge them, catch up and ask when you can get on their calendar
c. Strategically avoid them; they are obviously avoiding you

Which would you choose? Admittedly, it was hard for me to get out of doing C.  Even option A was something that took some getting used to. But these days, I am much more inclined to choose option B, so that I can walk away feeling good about not letting “the vibe” ruin my day.

This actually happened:  Pop quiz question number one is actually an excerpt from my life. One of my Clients had had a pipe burst in his cabin and had chosen to stay there (without Wi-Fi) for a week so that he could finish the repairs. He didn’t hate me; he was just enjoying an impromptu vacation. In fact, I was one of many business associates that he blew off that week. “The vibe” has been SOOOO wrong. And if I had avoided approaching my Client after making that negative assumption, I would have risked being perceived as non-responsive or disinterested altogether.

2.  You're in a strategic planning meeting for a special event and you’ve decided that the event theme will be “Thunder from Down Under.” You recommend a bronzing station and muscle cut outs, while another associate recommends a Magic Mike style movie premiere. The movie premiere idea is chosen over yours. You:
a. Feel awesome that this type of planning is part of your job in the first place, then take the situation for what it is and move on
b. Ruin a whole day silently wondering why everyone thought your idea sucked
c. Ruin a whole day silently wondering why the person who made the final decision hates you

Are you laughing yet? While it may be hilarious, this type of self-doubt happens…a lot. But the decision to scrap your idea probably has nothing to do with you. It could be about preference, availability, timing, budget…the list goes on and on. But taking the decision personally is one of the worst things you can do for your sanity and health, and it only lets “the vibe” win. You also risk never learning from the situation or easing your mind, which for me is the worst-case scenario.

This actually happened:  No I didn’t have a “Thunder from Down Under” themed event (although I think this would be FANTASTIC). I did, however, have a brilliant trade-show display idea that was rejected simply because it required electricity. I lost an unhealthy amount of sleep worrying about the design until I asked the decision-maker what their reason(s) were.

 

Baby Steps:

When “the vibe” strikes, it prevents you from excelling as a professional. But just a few small baby steps in the opposite direction can send your career sky-rocketing! Being open to and receiving feedback is not as dangerous as it seems. Besides, most of the time when we do ask for feedback, even if we ask about whether there were disappointments or improvements that could have been made, we end up with more praise than we do criticism. So make a stand to squash “the vibe” and speak up…every time. There’s really no reason to continue allowing the black cloud of negative assumptions to follow you around, keeping you in the dark.

As for me, my efforts to smack down “the vibe” continue. I can tell you that I have learned a lot while serving as the Branding Chair for the Arizona Chapter. And yes, if you’ve ever asked me for a graphic revision, I may have thought: “What could you have possibly NOT liked? OMG, was it horrible?” I guess I’m still a work in progress…

P.S. If you don’t like me, just know that I know and, yes, I still wonder what the heck you’re thinking!  

 

About the Blogger:  Between bike rides with the kids, Nicole Rodriguez “Major Marketing” juggles Client meetings as an A/E/C industry consultant. She’s positively thrilled at any opportunity to shine, support and succeed, which usually means that she works part-time for SMPS as a volunteer in addition to her full-time position at TankGirl Marketing. Nicole thoroughly believes she can change the world one graphic, one event, and one Client at a time and will never give up trying. She also believes that we are all lucky to be alive and well and able to read this very post!